Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums banner

1 - 20 of 72 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
543 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Thought I'd bring this up and see what people's thoughts are.

16:9 is the standard for HD, but when programmes in North America are broadcast on SD channels, they're still in 4:3. However, in Europe, thanks to the 16:9 Action Plan by the EU in the earlier 90s, 16:9 has become the standard for SD channels as well, first on the PALplus platform, and now also on DVB. Now, most channels in Western Europe broadcast in 16:9, with much of Eastern Europe following suit. In 2000, Australia and New Zealand also followed, with all their major channels going 16:9.

My question is, why haven't channels in North America followed? Many programmes are done in 16:9 for HD anyways, so why aren't they being shown in 16:9 on their SD counterparts? Also, do you think they should switch to 16:9, or do you think it's only a matter of time before we have more HD channels then not(and eventually all channels will be HD), so why bother with the SD ones?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
338 Posts
I RARELY watch any SD channels, but know a lot of people that dont have HD yet and it seems most programs are now letterboxed on SD channels (primetime shows for example, shown at 1.78:1 in a 1.33:1 frame). Any time something is ONLY being broadcast in widescreen (not being cropped for 1.33:1), it would be nice if it was shown in it's original ratio regaurdless of resolution. I am tired of hearing people confuse widescreen with high definition.

Another thing thats annoying is all the commercials being letterboxed on HD channels. They should at least be blown up to fill the 1.78:1 frame, black bars on both the sides and top and bottom has got to go.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
543 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
it would be nice if it was shown in it's original ratio regaurdless of resolution.
I agree with alot of what you say, but especially that. I was watching NBC's Today on their SD channel, ad it was in 4:3, but the show is in 16:9 on NBC HD. That's a prime example of what I'm taling about. Since it's already in 16:9, why not just do it on the SD channel as well. I have read that a reason it's not done here as in Europe is because PAL is higher resolution and doesn't degrade wide-screen as much as NTSC, but I find that claim questionable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
543 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Because NA's seem to hate black bars. They'd rather lose 30-50% of a programme... Black bar discussions have filled this forum for years.
I've thought about that too. The way to fix that would be to have the government ban non-widescreen televisions from being sold in stores (excluding hock shops, and personal people selling their used sets, ofcourse) from a certain date, similar to how they're banning incadescent lightbulbs. The industry is usually good at these things, but sometimes we can use a little bump from the government to move forward faster.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
56,505 Posts
No ban is necessary. Almost everyone is buying 16:9 flat panel TVs when they need a new TV. Many stores don't carry anything else. Of course, people then don't like the black bars on the (4:3) SD channels and then stretch everything, causing them to often miss 33% of HD programming because they forget to "unstretch" or properly set up their equipment. ;)
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
56,505 Posts
Just as an FYI, 16:9 programming from SD channels zoomed to fill a 16:9 screen is often not very good quality, especially on an unoptimized TV. This "issue" will solve itself as HD takes over.
 

·
Member #1
Joined
·
47,683 Posts
My question is, why haven't channels in North America followed? Many programmes are done in 16:9 for HD anyways, so why aren't they being shown in 16:9 on their SD counterparts?
Because the majority of televisions in North America are still 4:3. Why alienate the majority?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
543 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Because the majority of televisions in North America are still 4:3. Why alienate the majority?
Well, the simple answer would be "to give them the whole/better picture", but the reality of the situation is more complex, as you're suggesting. Still, the switch has to made sometime, might as well do it now, I say:D
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
56,505 Posts
In Europe the majority of TVs are also 4:3 and were many years ago when broadcasters aired all their programming OAR. The difference, I believe, is the sophistication of the audience. In Europe, people understand why there are black bars on some programming (on most programming today) and don't complain when it's aired OAR.

It could also be that the people who ran the broacasting stations were also more sophisticated and decided to "force" people to watch the programme "correctly" in OAR, while North Americans wanted their movies cut in half so they wouldn't see black bars.

When DVDs first came out a dozen years ago, all of the movies were OAR, however, J6P complained about the black bars and the studios started producing "fullscreen" DVDs (As they had for VHS tapes for years). I actually thought that fullscreen had finally died years ago, but no...

Luckily, this doesn't appear to be the case with BDs, although some 2.35:1 movies have been cropped (or in rare instances "expanded") to 1.78. At least you don't lose half the movie.

Seems we may end up rehashing the black bar discussions we've already had many times, but perhaps with a European slant?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,292 Posts
Also, do you think they should switch to 16:9
Yes, I'd much rather watch a 16:9 SD than 4:3. It's the same reason why letterbox movies are better than 4:3. With 4:3, you lose content. A while ago, TCM had a short piece on why they letterbox. They had some movie directors explaining it and one, using the example of da Vinci's "Last Supper", said without letterboxing, there'd be only six disciples. Same holds for 16:9 vs 4:3. What I absolutely hate is when they letterbox & pillar on a HD channel! While you can (usually) zoom to fit the screen, you lose a lot of resolution.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,292 Posts
I have read that a reason it's not done here as in Europe is because PAL is higher resolution and doesn't degrade wide-screen as much as NTSC
Many DVDs are wide screen and look fine for SD.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,292 Posts
The way to fix that would be to have the government ban non-widescreen televisions from being sold in stores
In the U.S., the retailers were required to clearly identify non digital sets, although I don't think that applied to SD only sets, provided they were digital. However, other than one small analog TV in Wal Mart, it's been a long time since I've seen any 4:3 sets in a store.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,292 Posts
Because the majority of televisions in North America are still 4:3. Why alienate the majority?
Those same (analog) sets will soon require a digital converter in order to receive any signal. Just allow the viewer to switch between letterbox & full height modes as desired.
 

·
Member #1
Joined
·
47,683 Posts
People hang on to televisions for 15 or 20 years. My suspicion is 4:3 will continue to be broadcast for another few years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,211 Posts
I've thought about that too. The way to fix that would be to have the government ban non-widescreen televisions from being sold in stores (excluding hock shops, and personal people selling their used sets, ofcourse) from a certain date, similar to how they're banning incadescent lightbulbs. The industry is usually good at these things, but sometimes we can use a little bump from the government to move forward faster.
For a forum filled with libertarians, you're asking for a lot. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,540 Posts
So, in order to appease everyone and the various technologies, we have a combination of:
  • HD in 16:9 widescreen
  • SD in 4:3 w/ black bars on top & bottom
  • SD in 16:9 letterboxed w/ black bars on top, bottom & sides
  • commercials in 16:9 letterbox on HD channels
  • SD in 4:3 on HD channels
  • SD in 16:9 with black bars on top & bottom
Did I miss anything?....:rolleyes:....

So most people still have 4:3 TV's. But you can't even buy them anymore. So the majority of content on TV is being catered to a (commerically) obsolete technology. What century is this again?
 
1 - 20 of 72 Posts
Top